When you and your spouse know it is time to go your separate ways, it is likely that you will each look for a divorce attorney. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can make a difference in your settlement. Although there are many assets you will need to divide between the two of you, not all may be considerations early in the process. Depending on the length of the marriage and your marital assets, you may have more to account for than you considered. Here are four things some people may overlook in the early phases of divorce which your divorce attorney may help you consider.
1) Retirement and Investment Accounts
When children enter a family, one spouse may stay home or work part time. When this happens, that parent may stop contributing to their retirement fund. If you and your spouse agreed that you would stay home to raise your children, you may ask for part of their retirement savings in your settlement.
Although the engagement and wedding bands are considered the property of the owner, other jewelry may be subject to division. The general rule is if the item was given as a gift, it is the property of the receiver. However, if it was purchased using marital assets, it belongs to both spouses and can be subject to division as part of the settlement.
If you or your spouse have a collection of items, there may be a significant investment or value associated with those items. Whether it is just a few pieces like paintings by a certain artist or hundreds of action figures, you may want to take the value of those items into account when discussing a settlement. If you have no interest in the items themselves, ask for half the appraised value in cash or an equal amount of another item of value in your home.
4) Credit Card and Travel Rewards
Many of us use a credit card to earn airline miles or free nights in a hotel. Sometimes there is actual cash value as the points can be cashed out; other times the points can only be redeemed in a certain way. The vast majority of credit cards state that the points are not transferable in a divorce. Most airlines do allow gifting of airline miles in the form of a ticket. However, if you are not hoping to travel immediately, you probably do not want to choose that option. Instead, ask for a cash equivalent of half the hotel nights, or, if you have children, have the owner of the points agree that the nights will only be used on a vacation with your children.
As divorce attorneys, the Wagstaff Law Office team asks questions to help ensure we are uncovering all the real property that should be included in your settlement. If you are looking for an experienced divorce attorney, call (727) 584-8182 for your initial consultation.